Odette’s story: Hungering for a Healthy Start in Rwanda

Jeanne Uwimbabazi smiles at her daughter Elissa Izibyose while feeding her porridge during a health and nutrition screening near Buruba Village, Muhanga District, Rwanda. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl for Catholic Relief Services

Jeanne Uwimbabazi smiles at her daughter Elissa Izibyose while feeding her porridge during a health and nutrition screening near Buruba Village, Muhanga District, Rwanda. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl for Catholic Relief Services

Odette’s daughter Olga could have easily become one of the many children in Rwanda who don’t receive the nutrients they need to develop and grow.

But Odette started working with Catholic Relief Services even before she gave birth to ensure her child would get the care she needed during the crucial first 1,000 days of life. The nutrition a child receives from the time he or she is in the womb until his or her second birthday can mean the difference between a promising future and one of poor health and limited opportunities.

Catholic Relief Services is working with communities in Rwanda to end child malnutrition by supporting health and nutrition programs, and teaching families to grow crops that add nutritious variety to their meals.

Because poverty is a major cause of malnutrition, CRS helps families find opportunities to earn an income. With a loan from her microfinance group, Odette started a business selling agricultural fertilizer so she could support her family.

Odette attends weekly classes that are helping her grow healthy crops on her farm. She’s also taking courses on how to prepare nutritious meals from those crops. And she takes Olga to regular well-baby visits to measure her weight and growth, and ensure she is healthy.

This year, Olga will reach a milestone: Her second birthday. Because Odette has been feeding her a variety of nutritious foods-many of which were grown in the family garden-Olga is growing up strong and healthy.

Read more stories about how Lenten alms become lifesaving aid at crsricebowl.org.

Eric ClaytonEric Clayton is CRS Rice Bowl Program Officer at Catholic Relief Services (CRS).


This Lent, USCCB is partnering with CRS to bring you Stories of Hope from CRS Rice Bowl, the Lenten faith-in-action program for families and faith communities. Through CRS Rice Bowl, we hear stories from our brothers and sisters in need worldwide, and devote our Lenten prayers, fasting and gifts to change the lives of the poor.

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